Paper| Volume 23, ISSUE 6, P401-404, 1992

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Surgery in Afghanistan: a light model for field surgery during war

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      Owing to a poor capability for evacuation, mobile medical teams were sent to the area of Gazni in Afghanistan to work with local paramedics as part of a medical programme for the area. The teams were equipped to perform major surgery. During 1 month a surgical team inside Afghanistan performed 53 operations. The operations were performed in the patients' homes at night. The team had to move frequently so as not to be spotted by the Soviet and government surveillance. Equipment equivalent to a light field hospital was stored in a safe place and the team carried supplies for 1 or 2 days on their bicycles. One postoperative death and one wound infection were recorded.
      It is concluded that adequate surgery can be performed inside territories where enemy forces have air control and under primitive conditions with an acceptable rate of complications. However, due to the nature of the guerrilla warfare with scattered military confrontations over vast areas, the average time between injury and treatment for war casualties was 36 h.
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